It has been predicted that the state Barisan Nasional (BN) will introduce as many as 16 new faces for the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14) which will see polling on May 9.
Should the prediction be true, it means this will be the general election where the state BN breaks its own record of introducing new faces, over 50 per cent comprising new candidates, the highest number among all the general elections so far.
It would be a good sign though. If the state BN plans to continue to stay in power, change is inevitable and fielding candidates who can stay in touch with the younger generation is no longer an option but a necessity. It shows state BN chairman and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s determination to inject new blood and ensure continuity with young and effective leadership whom the younger generation of voters can identify with.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) as usual is expected to take the lead in fielding more new faces. There will be at least five from PBB as some incumbents have expressed their intention not to seek re-nomination.
As of time of writing, the five incumbents who have made public statements on their intention not to seek re-nomination are Betong MP Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Puncak Borneo MP Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit, Mukah MP Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, Tanjong Manis MP Datuk Norah Abdul Rahman and Sibuti MP Datuk Ahmad Lai Bujang.
At this stage, it is quite certain that former Bukit Saban assemblyman Robert Lawson Chuat will be replacing Uggah as the former had given up the state seat to pave way for Uggah to return to Sarawak to be Deputy Chief Minister.
Dawos is retiring because of health reasons, while Toyad is rumoured to be advised to give up the seat because of his unpopularity among the constituents. Norah on the other hand, suddenly made a public announcement on social media that she was not seeking re-election, citing health reasons. Meanwhile, Ahmad Lai yesterday also made a similar announcement for similar reasons.
It is quite certain that PBB will field a new face in the person of Ibrahim Baki, a long-time close ally of Abang Johari who should have been fielded more than a decade ago.
In Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), things are clear as its president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has made the announcement confirming that there will be two new faces – Rita Insol for Selangau and Robert Pasang Alam at Lubok Antu.
Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) will retain its three incumbents for Bintulu, Mas Gading and Baram respectively, while in Saratok, new face Subeng Mula will be fielded.
For Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), as the party lost in six of its seven allocated seats, it is expected to field new faces for all the lost seats namely, Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Sibu, Lanang and Miri.
SUPP women’s chief Kho Teck Wan is expected to stand in Bandar Kuching, while Stampin is most likely to be defended by its president Datuk Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian.
For Sarikei, it is rumoured that the party will field political secretary to the Chief Minister Teng Ung Woo, who will face Democratic Action Party’s Wong Ling Biu.
The questions now is, Dr Sim is Batu Kawah assemblymen. Fielding him for a parliamentary seat is against the principle set by state BN chairman Abang Johari that there should be no overlapping for all assemblymen and parliamentarians.
Meanwhile, it is rumoured that SUPP had come to an agreement with its splinter party United People’s Party that the latter will take up two seats – Bandar Sibu and Miri – on the condition that UPP candidates will stand under SUPP’s ticket.
For Bandar Sibu, Datuk Andrew Wong, the son of Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is expected to be fielded. A new face Kelvin Kong will be fielded by SUPP in Lanang while Bruce Chai of UPP will be standing for UPP but under SUPP banner.
How accurate is this DayakDaily prediction, no one is certain. We don’t have to wait long. The “Abang Jo List” will be revealed at 9am today at PBB headquarters where Abang Johari will be announcing all 31 state BN candidates. — DayakDaily